View Full Version : Circadian issues?

10-09-16, 05:16 PM
Anyone noticed weird circadian rhythm issues?

I usually bill myself as an insomniac, and have attached that to ADHD; but it's not quite that. During the day, I'm tired; at night, I'm awake.

For a while, I noticed delayed sleep onset combined with terminal insomnia--that is, I can't fall asleep, then I wake up at like 7 in the morning and feel like I must wake up now. I even noticed sleeping at 9pm would result in waking up at 3-4am with no sleep urge--only 6-7 hours.

If I get adequate sleep, I'm still tired in the afternoon. Sometimes I nap; sometimes napping is involuntary--I'm immediately and violently stricken with the need to sleep, and I drag myself around as best I can to prepare, and then lay down and fall asleep immediately. I wake up, struggle, and then collapse and pass straight back out.

The thing is... if I stay awake all day, I'm tired around 4-5pm. Around 10-11pm, I start feeling myself wake up. My body starts turning everything on. All that drag and exhaustion, the struggle to keep myself alert, it fades away and I feel... like I'm not sleep-deprived.

That suggests a circadian rhythm in which my brain is biologically attempting to be a nocturnal animal. Left to my own devices and with no enforced schedule, I naturally stay awake until 2-3am. That's been consistent throughout my life.

Anyone else notice this? Is it just me?'s just me, isn't it? ****.

10-09-16, 09:05 PM
I'm like this.

I don't know what "sleep disorder" I have, probably some circadian rhythm disorder like delayed sleep phase disorder or non-24 or something similar to those, but I do know from my whole life experiences that I'm naturally nocturnal.

I have written many posts on this website about how accepting that I am this way has changed my life for the better.

I am most alert from about 6pm-3/4 am. I get the most done during these times. I now allow my body to sleep when it wants, and I'm much healthier.

It was tricky at first and sometimes still is trying to get things organized with my husband, he is one who wakes in the morning, but things are working out well. He accepts me for who I am and I accept that he will never be one to stay up all night.

I hope to one day work a night shift job - I'm guessing that'll be easier to get since no one wants them.

No use in dragging myself around where I can't function.

My whole life I've dealt with severe jet-lag from morning-early afternoon.

Here's a description from a recent post of mine that shows what it's like:
If I try to wake up in the actual morning I get physically ill (pounding heart, raised blood pressure, nausea from the sun, adrenaline pumping through me, irritability, and high anxiety and excessive sleepiness where it is like a constant severe jet-lag and all of those symptoms I experience at the same time) and it's miserable. The physical symptoms just got worse over the years, but the being unable to focus and function during the morning/early afternoon and feeling severe jet-lag is something I've had pretty much my whole life.

I've had bio/neurofeedback sleep therapy for years, been on 7+ medications to help me sleep, I've tried every alternative method in the book. (I have a long post about that somewhere to stop people when they try to suggest something after I've literally already tried everything....I can try to find the post)

Here's the post where I have the very long list of all the sleep treatments I've had over the years:

Here's a bit from a recent-ish post of mine about embracing and accepting myself, I talk about embracing having a different sleep rhythm:
I have also come to accept that my sleep rhythm is different than the rest of the world's, and it has been for as long as I can remember. You know what this acceptance has resulted in? I get healthier "nights" sleep(not perfect, but immensely better than before), I no longer feel guilty or ashamed for sleeping when my body tells me to, and I am more productive than when I was totally EXHAUSTED from SEVERE lack of sleep due to forcing self to sleep at "normal times." Funny enough, my "insomnia" issues that I've been prescribed 7+ sleep medications for over the years is much more manageable now. My mood has also greatly improved.

Also - just as it is unhealthy for someone who has a "normal" sleep rhythm to stay up late for years on end and get very little sleep, and how this can lead to major health problems - the SAME thing happens to those who fight their natural sleep rhythm! I sure as heck don't want to die early, I deserve to live a full life even if that means sleeping at a different time than the majority.

And I hope to one day be able to work a night shift that no one else wants, because I'm so bright and alert at night! My brain is at its finest from about 6pm-3/4am. You have no idea how much I've been able to get done since I've embraced this part of me.

It has taken me much research, thought, and insight to get to this point.

Something important you should know: if you do have something like delayed sleep phase disorder, there is at this moment no cure. Only the mild cases can see a bit of improvement such as being able to wake up 3 hours earlier at most.

Imagine trying to get a "normal sleeper" (one who wakes up in the morning) to naturally wake up at 12am every night and start their day and then telling them they have to live their life that way. That's exactly the same thing trying to be done to those who have a different circadian rhythm.

It won't work!

But since it does sound like you have some insomnia going on and early awakening, I suggest getting a sleep study done if possible. There could be more going on.

Like for me, now that I follow my own sleep schedule that my body says is natural, my insomnia has reduced and I fall asleep quicker.

If you find out that you are naturally nocturnal, either by means of self-evaluation or going and getting a professional diagnosis, then maybe it would be best to change your environment in a way that works with your natural cycle?

Switch all classes to late afternoon/evening, work at night, etc.

You might find yourself enjoying life more!

Best of luck. :)

10-16-16, 02:21 AM
I have a similar problem with my circadian rhythm. I've always been a night owl but it's gotten much worse as I've gotten older. I'm much more energetic and I just feel better during the night until the crack of dawn. But through the day I'm tired and lethargic no matter how many hours of sleep I got the night before; seriously even with 14 hours sleep I don't necessarily feel rested.

I can pull an "all nighter" with no issue whatsoever but trying to get out of bed in the morning takes me at least 30 minutes to an hour. Left to my own devices I'll stay up til 7 or 8 am and sleep until the afternoon and feel great. I've been taking sleeping pills for the past year or so to force myself onto a socially acceptable sleep schedule but all that's really accomplished is making me dependent on them to sleep and giving me actual insomnia instead of just a delayed circadian rhythm.

Also this might just be me but I can skip a night's sleep and be just fine the next day. For instance I didn't go to sleep last night and it's 2:15 am and I'm just now feeling really sleepy. But that could also be because I'm only 20.